new new orleans favorites

It had been about 4 years since my last New Orleans visit, so on a recent trip there in November trip with my college roommates (Hi PHPs!), I was very happy to visit all my old favorites – mentioned here previously.  But, we also happily sought out a few new spots and as always, New Orleans delivered – especially in the food department!  A few of note to add:

La Boulangerie (4600 Magazine St., Uptown) – Incredible baked goods, and raves of perfection have been heard about their traditional baguettes.

Sucre – a pristine sweets shop, they have cupcakes, gelato and perfect little truffles and chocolates, but we went in for their macaroons, which we found to be lovely.  If memory serves me, the salted caramel, chicory and peppermint were our favorites.

Creole Creamery – an old school ice cream shop vibe, but with a wide spectrum of inventive flavors.

Ignatius Eatery (4200 Magazine St, Uptown) – just a few blocks away from our rental house, we went in looking for a solid lunch in this charming old corner-grocery style restaurant.  We ended up coming away with what was probably our most favorite meal of this trip.  The Shrimp Etouffee was incredible, as well as the Shrimp Remoulade Po’boy.

Willie Mae’s Scotch House Restaurant ( 2401 Saint Ann St, 7th Ward ) –  Historically run by a spitfire of a woman – Willie Mae, still going strong – and is now run faithful to history by her granddaughter.  There was a huge volunteer effort to bring this place back after Hurricane Katrina – and I am so happy I got a chance to check it out.  Dang. Incredible fried chicken! Accompanied by very lovely and comforting red beans and rice, butter beans and cornbread – but it is really all about the chicken, made to order.

The Columns Victory Lounge –  Not a new one for me, but it does deserve a mention, since I have found myself at this timeless gathering spot almost every visit to New Orleans going way back to undergrad. Tuck yourself into one of the rooms of the main floor, or amongst the grand columns on the porch for a cocktail –  this is hands-down my favorite place for a Sazerac Rye.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

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new orleans

A buddy’s upcoming trip spurred this post – favorites from my most recent trip to New Orleans (in no particular order):

Arts

Odgen Museum of Southern Art – we happen to hit it with fabulous timing, each exhibit was outstanding.  They also had something called Ogden After Hours that was great music, that I think is every Thursday night:  www.ogdenmuseum.org Smaller museums of interest:  Historic New Orleans Collection – amazing historic research center: www.hnoc.org and Backstreet Cultural Museum – very interesting fellow, self-made historian, photographer has overwhelming collection of Mardi Gras artifacts and street music traditions.  He also will tell you the best music to see at the time. Treme section of town – 1116 St. Claude Street  Tues-Sat (no website)

Music

I would most definitely recommend going to Preservation Hall one evening: www.preservationhall.com and then any other night wandering around the clubs in the Faubourg Marigny section of town (adjacent to the Quarter, and a little less touristy – good variety of music playing).   d.b.a. is the name of the bar we liked the most in the Marigny: www.dbabars.com

 

Food

We had a wonderful lingering meal at a small place in the NE part of the Quarter – Eat Nola – all local organic stuff: www.eatnola.com Quintessential New Orleans – beignets and chickory tinged coffee at Cafe du Mondewww.cafedumonde.com Other incredible good french breakfast pastries – Croissant d’Or Patisserie: 617 Ursulines Street, French Quarter (no website). The only fancier, famous New Orleans restaurant we went to this past visit was Nola – an Emeril Lagasse restaurant.  Gotta admit, it was incredible:  www.emerils.com Low-brow favorites (and what really make New Orleans):  Central Grocery – old Italian grocery, reputedly best Muffalata’s in New Orleans:  923 Decatur Street, French Quarter (no website) Praline Connection – Creole soul food, in the Marigny:  www.pralineconnection.com The Joint – yummy BBQ in the Bywater neighborhood:  www.alwayssmokin.com Elizabeth’s – excellent po’boys and other southern food, ‘meat and three’ type of place.  Bywater neighborhood:  www.elizabeths-restaurant.com

Drink

My favorite is the Napoleon House Bar and Cafe – home of the Pimm’s Cup, which is a nice refreshing drink for a hot afternoon.  In the French Quarter since the 18th century:  www.napoleonhouse.com I find that Bourbon Street is not really the place to hang out, but there is a cool little bar (if you go before all the drunken ruckus take over the area)  that boasts having created the first cocktail ever – the Sazerac.  Old Absinthe House in the French Quarter:  www.oldabsinthehouse.com

Other Things Worth Mentioning

Lower 9th – Rebuilding Tours – This list was originally created for someone wanting to check out the rebuilding efforts going on.  I didn’t take a tour specifically to see the lower 9th – since we were kind of in the thick of it building with Habitat in the Musician’s Village in the Bywater Neighborhood.  We had also rented a car, so we did the driving tour that was listed in the Fodor’s guide-book.  I’ve checked out a few groups that I thought might be doing specific tours with an architectural bent, but my favorites don’t seem to be doing that.  Here are the groups that I’ve been following and (for the most part) like what they are up to down there are (just for other information on their rebuilding efforts):  Preservation Resource Center:  www.prcno.org Global Green:  www.globalgreen.org/neworleans Make It Right:  www.makeitrightnola.org looking around, I did see this Post Katrina tour that seemed good: www.toursbyisabelle.com

Southern Food and Beverage Museum – I love, love, love these people and so happy they finally have a space: www.southernfood.org

Definitely take a stroll or drive with stops along the way up Magazine Street, and through the Garden District.  Much of that area is as it always has been, and again… quintessential New Orleans.

It is a wonderful town, with an incredible spirit, despite what it has been through.   Hope you have a fabulous time visiting Nawlins!